A Critique of "Kingdom Theology"

by Robert M. Bowman, Jr., with Craig S. Hawkins and Dan R. Schlesinger

Not only does the secular media have its guns trained on the Church, but

the religious media likes to take its little potshots as will. Recently, a

religious publication called Chapel Hill for an interview with Bishop Paulk.

They were told that his busy schedule wouldn't allow it that day. The

response went something like this:

"Well, cults always deny interviews. You have denied an interview with us

so that obviously makes you a cult." Great deductive reasoning! It makes

about as much sense as this premise [i.e., argument]: Eggs break. Bones

break. Therefore, eggs are obviously bones. [1]

The above statement by Don Paulk in the March 1988 The Kingdom Come was

published less than a month after the CHRISTIAN RESEARCH JOURNAL contacted

Chapel Hill Harvester Church and asked to interview Earl Paulk. The church

staff would neither confirm nor deny that this statement was about us. The

fact is that, as I reported in Part One of this article, we had talked with

staff members on at least four occasions and they had relayed to us that Earl

Paulk was not willing to talk with us at any time. The account (if about us)

also distorts our response to Paulk's refusal to talk to us. What I told

Tricia Weeks (Paulk's Public Relations Officer) was that we had serious

questions about Paulk's orthodoxy which neither his publications nor her

attempts to defend him on the phone had been able to answer (as she herself


In Part One of this critique of Kingdom Theology (KT) as represented in

the writings of Earl Paulk, I discussed faulty criticisms of KT as well as

invalid attempts by Paulk to shield KT from criticism, and traced its

historical and theological roots. In this second and concluding article on

KT, I shall systematically examine the theology of Earl Paulk, [2] critiquing

it on the basis of Scripture.


On many of Paulk's teachings, statements can be found in his writings

supporting contradictory positions. In practically every instance Paulk's

seemingly orthodox statements will be found in those writings in which Paulk

was trying to defend his teaching from the charge of heresy. This apparently

aberrant or heretical statements are mostly found in his nonapologetic

writings (although his apologetic writings contain questionable teachings as


Such a tension is evident in Paulk's teaching on the sufficiency of the

Bible as the only source of doctrinal revelations for the church. On the one

hand, Paulk has often made statements which clearly indicate that new

doctrinal revelations are being issued through modern apostles and prophets.

For example:

Many Christians incorrectly believe everything God would have us know has

already been written. The book of John says that many things are yet to

be spoken that are not written in the Bible. [3]

Fresh revelation is necessary to guide us into all truth. Had "all truth"

been given to us already, Jesus would never have said that the Holy Spirit

would serve as "a guide" to us. [4]

On the other hand, he has attempted to defend his view of prophecy with

statements such as the following:

Kingdom Theology is not a new theology, interpretation of Scripture nor

new revelation. It is as old as the Scripture. [5]

Because I believe the Bible is a closed canon, I acknowledge the

limitations upon spoken prophecy that such a statement implies. [6]

It is not easy to put these statements together into a logically coherent

whole. A perusal of Paulk's several books will show that overall he seeks to

find some basis in the Bible for everything he teaches, while at the same time

claiming that truths not recorded in the Bible are being revealed today.

Thus, Paulk appears to hold to a theology of ongoing doctrinal revelations,

while recognizing the need to relate his teachings to the Bible if they are to

be made acceptable to Evangelical and Pentecostal Christians.

That Paulk's doctrine of ongoing revelation implies an unquestionable

doctrinal authority outside the Bible may be seen from an analysis of his

teaching regarding the "fivefold ministry."


As we saw in Part One, one of the "truths" supposedly restored in the

Latter-Rain movement was the doctrine of the "fivefold ministry." According

to this doctrine, the five offices listed in Ephesians 4:11 - apostles,

prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers - are all needed in a fully

functioning and maturing church, and therefore the church today should begin

to recognize certain "anointed" individuals as having been called to occupy

these offices, including apostles and prophets. As I have shown elsewhere,

[7] this doctrine rests on a mistaken interpretation of Ephesians 4:11-13 and

misconstrues the New Testament teaching concerning apostles and prophets,

church offices which passed away in the first century.

There are, it should be noted, different ideas among those who hold to

this fivefold ministry as to what apostles and prophets are supposed to do.

These different views range from regarding apostles and prophets as church-

planters and Spirit-filled preachers to regarding them as spokesmen for God

whose authority and teaching cannot be questioned. It is the latter view

which is harmful to sound Christian faith, and it is, unfortunately, the view

espoused by Earl Paulk. Thus, Paulk writes, "The calling of the apostle is to

establish order in the Church." [8] Paulk compares the apostles and prophets

to generals in God's army: "God's people are going to begin to know who their

generals are and they will recognize whom to follow.... God will develop His

anointed structure in His army." [9]

Paulk has even more to say about the authority of prophets than apostles,

perhaps because he is recognized by his followers and other leaders in the

movement as a prophet. Repeatedly he argues that while the prophecies spoken

by congregational members are to be judged by the church's elders, the

pronouncements of those holding the office of "prophet" in the fivefold

ministry are not be judged by anyone except God. Paulk claims that false

prophets in the church will be dealt with by God alone, who will "kill" them

either by causing their death or by causing their ministries to "die." This

is Paulk's "interpretation" of Deuteronomy 13:5, where the people of Israel

are commanded to put false prophets to death. [10]

It is evident from this "prooftext" for the immunity of a prophet that

Paulk feels free to depart blatantly from the plain meaning of Scripture

whenever it suits his purpose. Deuteronomy 13:5 simply cannot be fairly read

to mean anything other than that a false prophet was to be executed under the

Mosaic law code (for the church in a pluralistic society, the corresponding

action would be excommunication). Thus, the text actually says the exact

opposite of what Paulk says it means (that no one should judge or take action

against a false prophet except God).

If any Christian should be inclined to call into question the accuracy of

Paulk's interpretation of Scripture, they would find a rebuke from him:

Another cloak of spirituality is when pastors say that every Christian

needs to take his Bible and judge the truth for himself. this is not the

instruction of God's Word. God gives the five-fold ministry for the

"equipping of the saints" and the "edifying of the body" (Ephesians 4:12).

Man has no right to private interpretation of the Word of God apart from

those whom God sets in the Church as spiritual teachers and elders. [11]

Paulk's apostles and prophets are thus a sort of Pentecostal Papacy,

claiming the same kind of unquestioned authority as the Roman Catholic

hierarchy. Such authoritarianism in the church is never healthy, as is

evident from the doctrinal and practical errors of the Roman Catholic church,

though at least in the case of Rome centuries of church history and tradition

provide a modest check to any tendency to innovation. The Kingdom Theology

apostles and prophets, however, have no such traditions to respect, and

therefore can and do announce new revelation as often as they like.

Finally, it should be realized that for Paulk the issue of the fivefold

ministry is extremely important. In practically every book he has written in

the past six years, a warning is included that spiritual danger, possibly even

hell, awaits those who reject the fivefold ministry. [12]

What exactly does Paulk teach on the basis of these unbiblical views of

revelation and authority? The rest of this study will be taken up with

answering that question.


Bishop Paulk clearly affirms his belief in the traditional Christian view

of an omnipotent, omniscient, absolutely sovereign God. [13] He would no

doubt take offense at the suggestion that his view of the nature of God is

deficient. Unfortunately, there is reason to think that Paulk's teaching on

God is not consistently orthodox.

Orthodox Christian theology holds that God is carrying out a single plan

for His creation, a plan which is based in His eternal purpose and which

cannot be thwarted. [14] Earl Paulk, on the other hand, consistently

throughout his writings teaches that God is now carrying out a second plan,

the first having been defeated by Adam's rebellion in the Garden of Eden.

God said, "Okay, I'm going to whip you at your own game, Satan, I'm going

to give authority to the seed. Adam, number one, missed the mark. Now

I'm going to try it again." ...We are now living out God's second plan to

redeem "that which was lost." ...God's "Plan B" is the strategy by which

the seed will overcome Satan's rule. [15]

How can Paulk reconcile talk of God "trying again" and going to "Plan B"

with his professed belief in God's omnipotence and omniscience? Evidently by

arguing that although God is by nature omnipotent and omniscient, He

voluntarily has limited Himself by establishing certain immutable laws in the

world, by making statements to which He is then bound, and by giving his human

creatures a measure of sovereignty in their own right.

The very source of all power, omnipotent God, decrees, "A I give you

power, I limit My own power." God automatically limits His power whenever

He creates one to whom He gives autonomy. By God's giving us power in

certain areas of life, He limits Himself in those areas. For that reason,

we determine our own destiny in many ways. [16]

If the decision had been God's alone, surely His own Son would have known

the time of His return...Of course, in His omniscience God knows, but He

does not know in experience. God must wait in responsiveness to His plan.


Paulk's view of God as represented by these statements, from the

standpoint of historic Christian Theology, is at best erroneous and aberrant,

at worst herectical. A God who loses power by creating beings with

"autonomy,"who knows things "in His omniscience" but not "in experience"

(whatever that means), and who must improvise a "Plan B" when Plan A is

defeated, is not an infinite God.

It is true that God created man with the ability to choose contrary to His

revealed will and that Adam's fall made us incapable of fulfilling the purpose

for which God created us. However, in context Paulk's statements go well

beyond these affirmations and say that God actually has created demigods whose

sovereignty limits God's and whose rebellion frustrates God's sovereign

purpose for the universe. This will become clearer as more aspects of Paulk's

theology are explained.

If any reader is uncertain as to the biblical teaching concerning God's

absolute sovereignty, he would do well to make a careful study of the nature

of God, as our view of God will determine the rest of our beliefs for good or

for ill. [18]


To use the word "mythology" to describe the teaching of a professing

Christian minister may sound overly harsh, but there is biblical precedent for

it (2 Tim.4:3-4). In the case of Earl Paulk, the charge that his theology is

essentially myth is based, not on a caricature of a few isolated statements,

but on the repeated major themes of all of his books relating to the history

of the universe and man's place in it. [19]

According to Bishop Paulk and Kingdom Theology, in the very beginning God

created the universe and populated it with spirits (or angels) who lived in

perfect obedience to Him. However, a third of these angels, led by Lucifer,

rebelled against God's authority, becoming the demons, and seized dominion

over part (probably one-third, cf.Rev. 8:12, "a third of the stars") of the

physical universe. This angelic rebellion occurred in a "gap" between Genesis

1:1 and 1:2. The result was that the earth, which was the "capital city" or

headquarters of this demonic Evil Empire, was brought into chaos and make

formless and void (Gen.1:2)

In order to win back unchallenged dominion over the universe, God

introduced into the earth Man, a race of creatures which God intended to

become a resistance movement that would conquer the Devil's home planet and

thus lead the way in taking back dominion over the entire universe. Man was

to be a race of "little gods" exercising divine sovereignty in their area of

influence, thus overwhelming the devil's forces. Unfortunately, the father of

this race, Adam, was tricked by the devil into forfeiting Man's place in this

plan and actually brought God's first plan to nought.

God was then forced to come up with a "Plan B" [20] to take dominion over

the earth. His solution: to introduce into this fallen race a man in whom the

divine nature dwelled fully, who would become the prototype of a new race of

human beings in which the original godhood of Adam was restored. This divine

Man was Jesus Christ, a perfect manifestation of God the Father, and the

"firstfruit" of the "incarnation" of God. The race of "little gods" who are

spiritually united with Christ as members of His "body" is the church,

constituting collectively with Him the complete incarnation, a corporate

manifestation of God in the flesh which together will overcome the devil and

restore God's dominion unchallenged on the earth. Ultimate victory over the

devil, then, depends finally upon the church accepting its calling to be

little gods. It further depends on the church's submitting to the fivefold

ministry through whom God is seeking to mobilize the church into a unified

army prepared to take dominion back from the devil.

As wild as this story may sound to some readers, this account of

"salvation history" according to Paulk is taken very seriously as the

theological basis of the "Kingdom message." If, then, this scenario can be

shown to be unbiblical, the Kingdom Theology of Earl Paulk and his associates

will have been effectively refuted.

It should be admitted that some of the elements of this mythology have

been taught by some orthodox theologians. For example, the "gap" theory,

according to which the condition of the earth in Genesis 1:2 was the result of

a judgment upon Satan's rebellion, has been held by many highly esteemed

Christian thinkers in the past century. [21] However, placing a gap between

Genesis 1:1 and 1;2 is grammatically indefensible and rests on a mistaken

understanding of the expression "formless and void." [22] Furthermore, the

statement in Genesis 1:31 that God pronounced everything He had make as "very

good" contradicts the gap theory, according to which the earth was a spiritual

battleground at the time of Adam's creation. The theory that man was placed

on earth to take dominion over the devil runs afoul also of Genesis 1:26,28,

which shows that the "dominion" mandate given to Adam was to rule over the

biological life on the earth, not to reclaim dominion from the devil;s hosts.

Indeed, the entire chapter of Genesis 1 is a sustained argument that God

created the earth and all that is in it for mankind's enjoyment and use,

rather than creating mankind as a pawn in His power struggle with the devil.

That is, God make the earth for man, not man for the earth.

The gap theory, as erroneous as it is, is not in and of itself heretical.

However, it can be put to use in a heretical system, and as such can be a part

of an extremely unorthodox mythology. What makes it so in the case of Kingdom

Theology is its combination with the Manifest Sons of God doctrine, according

to which the church is the ongoing incarnation of God and believers are

"little gods" exercising autonomous sovereignty within their spheres of

dominion. As this is perhaps the most objectionable and controversial aspect

of Earl Paulk's teachings, it deserves special attention.


The teaching of Earl Paulk that Christians are to regard themselves as

"little gods" should not be isolated from the overall doctrine he presents in

his writings. His teaching about the nature of the church and of the

individual Christian involves far more than the expression "little gods."

According to Paulk, the church is the "ongoing incarnation" of God, soon to be

the "manifest sons of God," and as much "God in the flesh" as was Jesus


Jesus was God in the flesh. We must be as He was in the world, and even

greater in volume and influence. [23]

The completion of the incarnation of God in the world must be in His

Church...Jesus Christ is the firstfruit, but without the ongoing harvest,

the incarnation will never be complete. [24]

The living Word of God, Jesus Christ, was conceived in the womb of a

virgin. The Word became flesh in the God man, Jesus Christ (John 1:1).

Likewise, the Word of God must be make flesh in the Church in order for us

to bear witness to the Kingdom which God has called us to demonstrate.[25]

We are on earth as extensions of God to finish the work He began. We are

the essence of God, His on-going incarnation in the world. [26]

Evidently Paulk really means to say that the church is as much "God in the

flesh" as was Jesus. Certainly he does say this over and over, and never once

qualifies his statements to suggest that there is anything unique about Christ

as the incarnation except that He was its "firstfruit" and "standard." Thus,

Paulk appears to be saying something far beyond the orthodox belief that

Christ indwells the church through the Holy Spirit and continues His work on

earth through the church. This conclusion is confirmed by Paulk's strong

warnings, based on 1 John 4:1-3, against denying that the church is the

ongoing incarnation of God in the flesh. [27] From the context of these

warnings it is evident that Paulk recognizes his doctrine as controversial

among Christians, so that it cannot fairly be said that he is simply teaching

the standard view that Christ indwells the church. Of course, what 1 John

4:1-3 was warning about was denying that Jesus was incarnate God, not the

church is too!

That Paulk's view of the church and of mankind is heretical is confirmed

by what he says about "little gods":

Adam and Eve were placed in the world as the seed and expression of God.

Just as dogs have puppies and cats have kittens, so God has little gods.

Seed remains true to its nature, bearing it own kind.

When God said, "Let us make man in our image," He created us as little

gods, but we have trouble comprehending this truth. We see ourselves as

"little people" with very little power and dominion. Until we comprehend

that we are little gods and we begin to act like little gods, we cannot

manifest the Kingdom of God. [28]

When I say, "Act like a god," I can hear people saying, "There he goes

with the theory of 'the manifest sons of God.'" Forget about theories!

Forget about doctrine! Just go back to the simple Word of God! We are

"little gods," whether we admit it or not. What are "little gods"? A god

is someone who has sovereignty. Everyone is sovereign within certain

parameters... We are sovereign in many areas of life because we are

"little gods.," [29]

From these two citations it is evident that the problem with Paulk's

teaching here is n9ot merely calling men "little gods," though that is bad

enough, but what he means by it. [30] According to Paulk, Genesis 1 teaches

that man is God's "seed," "begotten" by God, and thus is the same "kind" as

God, just as elsewhere in Genesis 1 the various plants and animals are said to

reproduce after their kind. This interpretation of Genesis 1 betrays a

careless misreading of the text. Man is not said to be "after God's kind,"

but rather in His "image" and "likeness," and to have been "created," not

"begotten," by God (Gen.1:26-27). God evidently wished to communicate that we

were similar to God in certain important respects, but not identical in terms

of nature or essence.

Paulk also argues that as little gods, we have a certain measure of

"sovereignty" over our own lives. This is consistent with his view, discussed

already, that God forfeited some of His power and control over the universe in

populating it with "autonomous" beings. The result of Paulk's teaching that

we are "little gods" is thus a deflated view of God, as well as an inflated

view of man.

As important and integral as this teaching is in Paulk's writings, in 1987

Paulk began denying that he had ever taught it! In THAT THE WORLD MAY KNOW,

Paulk claimed that the charge that he taught a heretical view of man was based

on a single quotation taken out of context:

In one of my books, SATAN UNMASKED, I emphasized that man was created in

God's image... In keeping with the Genesis account of creation in which

each "kind produce their own kind," I wrote, "Just as dogs have puppies

and cats have kittens, God has little gods." ...Out of context, perhaps I

would have questioned the theological validity of the quote. At least, I

would have asked for further development of the analogy. [31]

This statement is misleading in suggesting that Paulk make the statement

about "little gods" once; as we have seen, he make such statements in two

separate books, and throughout his books are statements about the nature of

man and of the church which support his "little gods" doctrine. Even here he

maintains his view of kinds producing their own kind, which makes man the same

kind of being as God.

Throughout this same book, Paulk "further develops the analogy" by

claiming to distinguish between being "in the image of God" (which is, he

says, the biblical view that he has taught all along) and seeking to be "like

God" or "little gods," which he says he has always rejected as the lie of

Satan. [32] "Some people have never learned the difference between the error

of being a 'little god' instead of living as one created `in His image.'" [33]

As bold as this attempt was to hide the fact that he himself had taught

that we are "little gods," his statement in the November 1987 issue of his

newsletter THY KINGDOM COME was bolder still: "I have never stated that

believers are gods." [34] One wonders how this statement can be regarded as

anything other than a deceitful attempt to cover up heretical teaching.


We have seen that Paulk has a potentially heretical view of ongoing

revelation through modern apostles and prophets whose pronouncements cannot be

questioned; a deflated view of God's nature, and an inflated view of man's;

and a heretical view of the church as the completion of Christ's incarnation,

as a corporate body of little gods. How do these faulty views of revelation,

God, man, Christ, and the church "cash out" in relation to Paulk's doctrine of

salvation? Does Paulk accept the biblical gospel of salvation by grace alone

through faith alone in Christ alone?

AS with so many doctrinal issues, Paulk appears to affirm the orthodox

position while often at the same time compromising or even denying it. Paulk

claims to accept the gospel of salvation, but also argues that there is

another gospel - the gospel of the Kingdom - which most Christians are not

preaching or believing. Paulk distinguishes between the "gospel of Christ"

(i.e., Christ's gospel) as the message which Christ proclaimed regarding the

Kingdom, and the "gospel about Christ" as the message that Christ is our God

and Saviour. [35] This distinction corresponds to another distinction, made

in another book, between Salvation Churches, which preach only the gospel

about Christ as Savior, and Kingdom Churches, which preach that the church is

to complete the incarnation and take dominion over the earth back from the

devil. [36]

This distinction between two kinds of churches preaching two different

gospels is quite unbiblical. The apostle Paul made it very clear that there

was only one gospel, and anyone proclaiming another gospel was anathema or

cursed by God (Gal. 1:6-9; 2 Cor. 11:4). The "gospel of the kingdom" (Matt.

24:14) which Jesus preached is the good news that through faith in Him we can

be born of the Spirit and enjoy eternal life under God's undisputed rule

(e.g., John 3:1-18). This is also the message preached by the apostles and

disciples, who proclaimed the kingdom (Acts 8:12; 28:31) in preaching faith in

Christ as Lord and Savior (Rom. 1:16-17; 10:9-10: 1 Cor. 15:4; etc.). Thus,

the gospel of the kingdom and the gospel of salvation are one and the same

message. this can also be seen in Paul's statement (frequently cited in

Paulk's books) that the fruit of the kingdom of God consists in

"righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Rom. 14:17), fruit which

Christians have been enjoying for centuries on the basis of simple faith in

Christ (cf. Rom. 5:1-2; Col. 1:12-14).

Distinguishing between the gospels of the kingdom and of salvation is not

in and of itself heretical. As long as this distinction does not obscure or

deny that eternal life in God's kingdom is a free gift of God through faith in

Christ, the distinction is simply an error in biblical interpretation, and

does not come under the "anathema" of Paul's warning in Galatians 1:6-9.

Since Paulk claims to adhere to the "salvation gospel" as well as the "kingdom

gospel," his distinction would not be heretical if his "salvation gospel" were

orthodox. Unfortunately, there is some reason to doubt that this is so.

As far as this writer has been able to determine, not once in any of his

books does Earl Paulk clearly affirm salvation by grace alone or the

Reformation doctrine of justification by faith. [37] On the other hand, there

are statements which seem to compromise, if not outrightly contradict, the

evangelical faith. For instance, Paulk admits to teaching "that people will

either tithe or go to hell" [38] Elsewhere he insists that "works of faith"

are necessary to obtain eternal life, [39] and that "church membership" is

essential if we are to "maintain our salvation and place in the body." [40]

Such statements call into serious question Paulk's claim to be evangelical.



With his inflated view of man and the church, it will come as no surprise

that Paulk expects a great deal of the church. Most critiques of Paulk have

made much of Paulk's teaching that the church must accomplish certain things

before Christ can return, but have not based their criticisms in a thorough

enough understanding of Paulk's total perspective.

According to Paulk, Jesus is "held in the heavens until" the church

accomplishes its mission of bringing about "the restoration of all things,"

based on the usual Latter-Rain reading of Acts 3:21. [41] This is the major

premise upon which Paulk's expectations regarding the church are based.

However, the point being made by Peter i Acts 3:21 is not that the church must

restore all things before Christ can return, but rather that Christ will not

return until it is the Father's time for Christ to bring about the restoration

of all things (see also Acts 1:6-7).

It is true that certain things must take place before Christ's return,

such as the worldwide preaching of the gospel (Matt. 24:14). Indeed, Paulk's

interpretation of Matthew 24:14 is key to his entire theory: he argues that a

"witness" is more than a "testimony," and is in fact a "demonstration."

Therefore, concludes Paulk, what the church must do before the end can come is

to demonstrate to the world the power of the Kingdom. [42] However, once

again the wording of the text is not being respected: all Jesus says is that

the gospel of the kingdom must be "preached" for a "witness"; nor does Paulk's

arbitrary distinction between "witness" and "testimony" have any relation to

the realities of how these words are used either in biblical language or in

common English.

What exactly does Paulk expect the church to do? Paulk insists that the

church is to "make the earth God's footstool," referring to such texts as 1

Corinthians 15:25 which says that Christ "must reign until He has put all

things under His feet." On the assumption that the church is the incarnation

of God in the world, Paulk reasons that the church must fulfill this prophetic

goal. [43]

In order to accomplish this goal, the church must restore the spiritual

authority of the fivefold ministry [44] and thus become sufficiently united

in faith (not necessarily involving doctrinal agreement) to accomplish its

mission of taking dominion and to eliminate the scandal of division in the

church. [45] It must then mature sufficiently to become a standard by which

God can judge the world. [46] In doing so, it will complete the incarnation

of God [47] and be manifest as the sons of God (Rom. 8:19). [48] (It might

be appropriate at this point to mention that Romans 8:19, on which the

expression "manifest sons of God" is based, teaches that this manifestation is

something for which the church waits in hope, and which will occur only at the

Second Coming when God redeems our bodies [see Rom. 8:20-25; cf. Phil. 3:20-

21].) This will, according to Paulk, place the church in a position in which

it can take dominion over the earth to the extent "that rulership will have

already been established" by the church before Christ comes back. [49] It is

in anticipation of this imminent "dominion" that adherents of Kingdom Theology

are pursuing political power.

Perhaps the most controversial aspect of what the church is expected to do

in Paulk's view is to "overcome death." On this subject, as so many others,

Paulk's thoughts seem to be inconsistent. At times he speaks very plainly

about the church doing what Jesus did by overcoming death!

Everything that Jesus Christ performed, His Church must perform, including

challenging and overcoming death! [50]

Death, the last enemy, must be conquered by the Bride of Christ. Indeed,

we experience death with Christ by faith, but the generation that precedes

the coming of Jesus Christ must follow the example of Enoch who was

changed. [51]

Elsewhere, though, Paulk seems to shy away from this position: Death does

not necessarily mean "natural" death, for most Christians will experience

a physical death, [sic] I believe that God desires us to lean how to die

to our wills and our flesh and to reckon ourselves dead. [52]

What Paulk may be trying to say here is that not all Christians need to

overcome physical death to "demonstrate the Kingdom"; some may do so by dying

to self (note the inconsistency, though, in saying that "overcome death"

means dying to self).

In a couple of places Paulk seems to imply that the church will be made

immortal only upon Christ's return. [53] This of itself is not inconsistent

with holding that the last generation will achieve some form of immortality

through the exercise of taking dominion over death, since the resurrected

Christians from previous generations will evidently have to be made immortal

by a direct act of Christ. In any case, in several places he does flatly

state that the church is to pursue immortality before Christ returns. He also

counsels Christians not to accept death unless they get a specific revelation

from God otherwise. [54] This is simply the logical conclusion of Paulk's

acceptance of Positive Confession (see Part One).


It is an unpleasant task to judge the teaching of someone within the

Christian fellowship as heretical, but the church does have that

responsibility, as I demonstrated in Part One. Having assessed the specific

teachings of Bishop Earl Paulk, something needs to be said in the way of an

overall evaluation.

There is no need to belabor the point that Kingdom theology is unbiblical

and should not be embraced by any Christian aware of its theological problems.

Regardless of whether or not it is possible to be a Christian and believe

these things, one ought not to try. It may be possible to jump from the top

of a tall building and survive, but it is still foolish to try.

The more troublesome question is whether the people who do subscribe to

this belief system are Christians. On the one hand, Earl Paulk does subscribe

to the historic creeds of the church - or so he says, at least - and does

confess to the Trinity and the deity of Christ, seemingly placing him outside

of the category of a cultist. On the other hand, his teachings at best are

contradictory and confused on the essential of the faith, and at worst (and

there is much to be said for regarding the situation as at its worst) he has

rejected the orthodox view of God, man, and salvation.

Perhaps if Paulk were open to dialogue on the issues raised here (and

there are several other critical issues not even touched upon due to space

limitations) we might be able to clarify some uncertain points and give a more

definitive overall evaluation of his thought. He has chosen not to go this

route. Still, some things can be said. He has lied about the truth regarding

what he has taught in the past. He has claimed to be a prophet and then

taught his followers that a prophet is not to be judged; convenient, if not

convincing. He has taught false doctrine on matters essential to faith (of

that there should be no doubt) under the guise of inspired prophecy, making

him a false prophet.

It is therefore our judgment that Earl Paulk is in fact a false prophet

whose teachings and ministry should be utterly rejected by the church. Other

ministers who align themselves with him and who promote Kingdom Theology

(e.g., Bill Hamon, Larry Lea, Thomas Reid) should likewise be regarded as

heretics. Those Christians (and there are evidently many such) who are

members of churches teaching Kingdom Theology need to be warned of its true

nature and encouraged to leave, despite Paulk's warnings that they may suffer

hell if they do leave. [55] Those persons who choose to remain in fellowship

with these heretics will, even if saved, have to be regarded by orthodox

Christians as having broken fellowship with God's people. The orthodox gospel

of reconciliation with God and His rule through Christ simply cannot be

sacrificed or even compromised for Earl Paulk's pseudo-gospel of the Kingdom.



1] Don Paulk, "Cutting Edge," Thy Kingdom Come, March 1988, 2.

2] In doing so, every effort has been made to interpret Paulk's statements

fairly and in context. Because of the brevity of this article, only a few

aspects of Paulk's teachings can be examined here, and long Quotations

must be kept to a minimum. Those wishing to read Paulk's statements in

context may obtain copies of his books from K Dimension Publishers in

Atlanta, GA.

3] Earl Paulk, Satan Unmasked (Atlanta, GA: K Dimension Publishers, 1985),


Unless noted otherwise, all book references in this article are by Earl Paulk

and published by K Dimension Publishers.

4] Thrust in the Sickle and REap (1986), 74 (hereafter Thrust).

5] Twenty Questions on Kingdom Teaching (prepublication copy, 1988),


6] Ibid., Q. 10.

7] "The Faulty Foundation of the Five-Fold Ministry," CHRISTIAN RESEARCH

JOURNAL 10 (Fall 1987):31.

8] Satan Unmasked, 123.

9] Held in the Heavens Until (1985), 184-85 (hereafter Held); cf. Ultimate

Kingdom (1986), 130; That the World May Know (1987), 53 (hereafter World).

10] The Wounded Body of Christ (2nd ed., 1985), 44-48 (hereafter Wounded); cf.

World, 25-26, 125, 141-42; Satan Unmasked, 125; Ultimate Kingdom, 16-17.

11] World, 10:cf. 143-44.

12] Wounded, 78; World, 70; Satan Unmasked, 137; Ultimate Kingdom, 68; Held,

189; Thrust, 55-56; To Whom is God Betrothed (1985), 31.

13] World, 24-25; Held, 110; Ultimate Kingdom, 144.

14] See Alan W. Gomes, "God in Man's Image: Foreknowledge, Freedom, and the

'Openness' of God," CHRISTIAN RESEARCH JOURNAL 10 (Summer 1987):18-24.

15] Held, 41, 48, 52.

16] Ultimate Kingdom, 30.

17] Ibid., 144.

18] See this author's "The Attributes of God: An Outline Study," available

from CRI.

19] See, for example, Wounded, 75,133-135; Satan Unmasked, 21; Held, 18, 32-

53, 221-23; Thrust, 49-53; World, 69, 89.

20] See n.15.

21] E.g., Donald Grey Barnhouse, The invisible War (Grand Rapids: Zondervan,


22] For a fairly thorough critique of the gap theory, see Bernard Ramm, The

Christian View of Science and Scripture (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1956),


23] Wounded, 69.

24] Held, 60-61.

25] Ibid., 156.

26] Thrust, 132.

27] Wounded, 124; Held, 127; Thrust, 9; Utlimate Kingdom, 17-18, 52; World,


28] Satan Unmasked, 96-97; cf. 287-88.

29] Held, 171.

30] See my discussion of the various meanings attached to calling men "gods"

in "Ye Are Gods? Orthodox and Heretical Views on the Deification of

Man," CHRISTIAN RESEARCH JOURNAL 9 (Winter/Spring 1987):18-22.

31] World, 73.

32] Ibid., 27, 50-52, 73, 132, 134-40, 145-46.

33] Ibid., 132.

34] "Paulk Answers," Thy Kingdom Come, Nov. 1987, 3.

35] Thrust, 21-29.

36] Satan, 187-95.

37] Cf. World, xi-xii.

38] Thrust, 37.

39] Ibid., 126.

40] Ultimate Kingdom, 84.

41] Held, 93, cf. Wounded, 95; Thrust, 102-103.

42] Satan Unmasked, 24-25; Held, 20.

43] Wounded, 95; Satan, 26-27, 138, 246-47; Held, ix, 61, 234; Ultimate

Kingdom, 144, 228-29.

44] Held, 198.

45] Ibid., 71; Wounded, 109-110, 122-23; To Whom Is God Betrothed, 23-27.

46] Thrust, 12, 67, 79; Ultimate Kingdom, 68; World, 55.

47] Wounded, 69; Held, 60-61, 156.

48] Satan, 114; see also Held, 42, 219; Thrust, 45; World, 6, 133; etc.

49] Wounded, 140.

50] Held, 66 (see also p.65).

51] Ibid., 97; cf. 107, 180-81, 252-55, 265-76; wounded, 123-24; Held, 116.

52] Satan Unmasked, 272.

53] Thrust, x; Ultimate Kingdom, 121, 123; World, 178.

54] Held, 166-67, 176.

55] Satan Unmasked, 194-95.

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